Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Magic Continues

The WGA was less militant this time around, and the rhetoric was way less heated.

After less than three weeks of talks, the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood's major studios have reached an agreement on a new three-year contract.

The tentative agreement includes a 20% increase in pay TV residuals, a 2% increase in annual wage rates and an increase in employer pension contributions to 7.5% from 6%, according a letter the WGA sent to its 12,000 members Sunday night. ...

All the guilds and unions have focused on their pension plans this negotiation cycle, achieving boosts in the areas they said mattered the most.

Two percent annual wage boosts have become standard, and it's been that way for a few years. That will probably continue until "official" inflation kicks in. (You know, the Consumer Price Index thingie.) And that point, small wage bumps will become politically untenable and the fights will center around bigger increases in minimum rates.

In the meanwhile, the Directors Guild, Writers Guild, and Screen Actors Guild have all had their time at the plate and come away with new three-year contracts without hitting the bricks. The IATSE and Teamsters -- negotiating jointly this time, I'm told -- are next at bat, and will probably get the same kind of deal as the guilds: Two percent wage bumps, some kind of residual sweetener, and more money into the Motion Picture Pension and Health Plan.

I assume negotiations will occur sometime this summer.


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